Online Health Science & Pharmacy Degree Programs

Degrees Lead to Practical or Academic Careers in Health Care

What would the modern medical field look like without constant innovation in medical procedure and equipment? Better yet, how would it seem without innovations in drugs and medications that control pain, anesthetize, and fight virus, bacteria and deadly diseases?

The role of professional pharmacists permeates every aspect of modern medicine. And it is one for which most are well compensated. Modern medication and the business of drugs drive the demand for highly trained pharmacists. A wide and specialized spectrum of pharmacy-related degrees may be conferred and graduates find work in as varied a range of situations within and without the medical field.

Degree Types

State and federal law heavily regulate Pharmacy programs and professionals. Accordingly many schools of Pharmacy, depending upon region, have very rigid curriculum requirements. Upon completion of a pharmacy degree, graduates must pass the North American Pharmacist Licensure Exam.

Pre-Pharmacy Programs

Pre-Pharmacy programs typically engage a student for at least two years, maybe three, and obviously set the academic foundation for a student that plans to pursue an advanced degree in Pharmacy. Pre-pharm programs emphasize core knowledge areas such as the sciences, math and chemistry. GPA requirements for admission to subsequent pharmacy programs are often quite demanding.

Doctor of Pharmacy: Base Level Pharmacy Degree

Where once the Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy existed, now instead is the Doctor of Pharmacy, or simply, Pharm. D. A common prerequisite is the Pharmacy College Admissions Test (PCAT). The Pharm. D. is a four-year, base level degree that presents pharmacy students with a rigid and intense curriculum that either prepares them for a range of entry-level pharmacy jobs or for further study in a graduate degree. Clinical requirements are also a part of this specialized training. Students mix classroom with practical, hands-on work experience in a working pharmacy. Courses include: organic chemistry, cellular biology, pharmaceutics, pharmacy management, toxicology, hospital and community pharmacy practice, and law, among a slew of others. Clinical specialties include such areas as geriatrics, cardiology, and infectious diseases.

Graduate Level Pharmacy Degrees

At the graduate and post-graduate level the range of Pharmacy degrees fans outward and is school-specific. Masters in Science degrees offer such sub-specialties as Pharmaceutical Sciences and Pharmaceutical Policy, Pharmacy Administration, Hospital Pharmacy, and Forensic Science.

Masters of Science Degrees in Pharmacy

Graduate schools of pharmacy represent the divide between practical and academic. Many schools of pharmacy at this degree level expect students to customize coursework to their particular career focus. However, most emphasize strong clinical and laboratory research skills prior to specialization. Core requirements differ widely, but some common M.S. degrees include:

Doctor of Philosophy Degrees in Pharmacy

The Ph.D. is the most academically respected degree regardless of field. Pharmacy is no exception. Pharmacy students that pursue a Ph.D. typically do so to prepare themselves for academic careers, often in professorships. Most are expected to complete rigorous and intensive research fellowships in ultra-customized programs. Dissertations are a typical requirement and completion of all advanced levels of pharmacy courses are a given.

Degrees Lead to Rewarding and Highly Paid Careers

Pharmacists may find work in entry-level community pharmacies, in highly charged hospital and clinical positions and in academic and research jobs. Regardless of chosen specialty the work is rewarding, demanding of constant continuing education, and pays well.